Vancouver councillor wants people to be able to legally drink at the beach

May 15 2020, 3:40 pm

A City Councillor will be proposing a motion that, if passed, would push for legalized alcohol consumption in parks and beaches across Vancouver.

Christine Boyle shared on Twitter that she’d be proposing that the City “legalize alcohol consumption in Vancouver parks and beaches.”

The motion will be introduced during the Vancouver City Council meeting on May 26. Boyle also adds that it’s an issue that OneCity Vancouver, a municipal political party that she belongs to, has been pushing for years.

OneCity Vancouver argues that many restaurants and bars, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, have been forced to dial-up their takeout options — including alcohol. It’s also suggested that those who lack access to backyards or private outdoor space, such as some renters, are at a disadvantage.

Boyle’s announcement is paired with a call to action to sign a petition, which has already received 2,500 signatures.

Turning this motion into a reality, however, would require a bylaw change by the Vancouver Park Board (VPB).

Boyle tells Daily Hive that in this case, City Council would play an “advocacy role, in encouraging the Park Board to amend the Parks Control By-Laws.”

She adds that it’s also key that, if passed, “they move swiftly to do so in time for this summer.

“More Vancouverites will be spending their summer in town, and are being encouraged to get outside while maintaining an appropriate physical distance,” writes Boyle.

Additionally, she notes that there are “existing bylaws in place” around pubic disturbances, noise, and litter that would be enforced so that neighbours aren’t negatively impacted.

Vancouver Park Board’s feasibility study on public alcohol consumption

In late 2018, the Vancouver Park Board forwarded a motion to conduct a “feasibility study” on a pilot project that would allow the public to consume their own alcoholic beverages at parks and beaches.

The motion was put forth by Green Party park commissioner Dave Demers, who expressed the need to change the Park Board’s strict liquor rules ahead of the 2018 municipal election. He started a petition to raise awareness and gain support for the pilot program.

Staff were to report back to the park board by the end of 2019 with study findings, including results from the consultation and any potential legal, logistical, societal, and financial considerations.

“I am optimistic that there is interest here,” says Boyle. “And I’m hopeful that Council adding their voices of support and encouragement can be of help in speeding up an actual change to the bylaw.”

Daily Hive has reached out to the Vancouver Park Board for additional comment.

With files from Simran Singh.